Professional Practices: Demystifying the Art World (VA4324.01)

Beverly Acha

What does it really look like to pursue being a professional artist? What exactly is the “art world”? How does what I am learning in college apply to life afterwards? This seminar course will address and explore why there is no clear or singular path to “becoming an artist” and offer students the tools to navigate shaping their artistic path from an empowered position.

Together we will tackle the practical aspects and issues of continuing to create art after graduation alongside a critical investigation of the political, economic, and cultural structures of the contemporary art world. We will explore topics related to the major institutions of the art world such as: commercial galleries, private collectors/collections, non-profit spaces, artist-run spaces, museums, universities/graduate programs, auction houses, grants/public art programs, artist residencies, art publications, and more. This course is geared towards senior Visual Arts students (working in any medium) interested in or genuinely curious about pursuing a creative life as a practicing artist after graduation.

This is a fully remote course. In class time will consist of virtual meetings consisting of slideshow presentations/short lectures, discussions, visits/presentations from professionals working in various art world institutions and artists at different stages of their careers, and some asynchronous work. Course work and assignments will consist of readings, watching videos/films, written responses to materials presented, research projects/research presentations, and the development and refinement of materials needed to apply to opportunities after graduating such as: artist statement, artist bio, portfolio, project/grant proposal etc. Investigating your own artistic practice via writing, discussion, and research is central to this course.


Learning Outcomes:
- develop a critical understanding of the contemporary art world/its institutions as a political, economic, and cultural system with specific motivations and histories
- develop writing skills to successfully create project proposals, artist statements, artist bios, etc...
- learn how to research contemporary (living) artists, institutions, and opportunities
- begin to articulate verbally and through writing a position for their artistic work within (or against) art history and contemporary art dialogues through research projects
- begin to conceptualize their creative lives outside of the academic institution


Delivery Method: Fully remote
Prerequisites: 7th and 8th term students pursuing advanced work in an art making discipline in VA. Consideration will be given to 5th and 6th term students who have taken at least 4, 4000 level VA courses. Please email beverlyacha@bennington.edu to request the application/questionnaire to be considered for this course.
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 4
M/W 7:00PM - 8:50PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 12
Course Frequency: One time only

Categories: 4000 , All courses , Four Credit , Fully remote , Visual Arts (VA)
Tags: